Joint property owners, other than married couples or civil partners, are taxed on their beneficial interest in any property.

A person who holds legal title to property may not always have a beneficial interest in the property, for example, in the case of a trust. The trustees will hold legal title on behalf of the beneficiaries who may have different beneficial interests in the trust property. 

Married couples and civil partners are taxed by default 50:50 on income from property held in joint names regardless of their beneficial interests, although there are some specific rules for certain assets.

  • If they hold unequal beneficial interests in a jointly-held property they are required to make an election if they wish to be taxed on the share of income to which they are beneficially entitled.
  • There are some limited exceptions to these rules where no election is required if there is evidence of a different balance in beneficial ownership. 

In Scotland, Scottish property law does not distinguish between legal title and beneficial ownership. 

Useful guides on this topic

Joint property: Legal v beneficial ownership 
What is the difference between legal and beneficial ownership? What are the tax consequences? Are the rules different for married couples?

Joint property elections
When property is held in joint names it is taxed according to beneficial ownership. There is an exception where married couples and civil partnerships hold joint property.

UK Trusts
What is a trust? What types of trust are there? How are UK trusts taxed?

External links

Complete this to make a joint property election: Form 17 - 'Declaration of beneficial interests in joint property and income'

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